Home > Critical Thinking, Dystopia, Musings, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Rational Paradoxes: The Attitudes of Whites Towards Their Kids

Rational Paradoxes: The Attitudes of Whites Towards Their Kids

OK, here is a question for which nobody has ever given me a satisfactory rational answer. This question also happens to be one of the examples I use in a couple of upcoming posts.

Why are parents in western countries, especially those in North America, so enthusiastic about their kids moving away from them?

I have to say that all of the conventional explanations heard by me such as “it encouraging independence”, “it builds character”, “it is good for them”, “it fosters individualism”, “it is cultural” just don’t make sense from a rational viewpoint. Human have invested far more time and resources in their kids throughout human history and prehistory- and for good reason. Unlike almost all other animals- humans are intensely social, long-lived and rather slow at reproducing themselves. High levels of parental involvement are necessary by default, whether in a nuclear-type family setting or more communal setting.

However high levels of investment also require proportional returns.

For most of human history- your kids were your injury, sickness and middle/old age plan. Even today that is by far the best case scenario. This situation does not change even if a significant minority of kids abandoned their parents as the median return would still be far better than any other alternative.

So why would people who have invested significant amount of time and money run away from their investment, especially when doing so decreases or eliminates the returns.

It simply does not compute.. on multiple levels and under multiple scenarios. However it is too widespread in western countries (especially in the last 100 years) to be an anomaly or fad. I believe that this peculiar behavior might be based on a series of assumptions which have partially held during the last 100 years of growth– but might not hold under low or negative growth scenarios.

What do you guys think? Comments?

  1. hans
    April 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    It has also struck me as very odd.
    It may be an inherently Anglo-Saxon/German malady based on a too subservient almost irrational belief into Authority.
    The “southerners” seem to be much less keen on kicking the young-uns out ASAP.

  2. April 18, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    It does not make biological sense for parents to do anything less than their utmost to ensure the survival and reproduction of their progeny.
    This behavior strikes us as extraordinary because it is unnatural.
    Species that reject their own offspring are typically those that have many progeny and short gestation periods. Humans are so heavily invested in each child that it is utterly irrational to imitate lower investment parenting tactics.

    Humans are obviously long-lived for a reason. And I don’t think it’s any coincidence that we all seem to hit the wall right at about the point our grandchildren ought to be reaching the end of childhood.

    I think Hans is on to something. The only explanation that remotely makes sense is individual sacrifice to make the group more competitive against other groups.

  3. April 18, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    I mean if you have 9 kids you might have to kick the eldest out of the house. But if there’s 1 or 2 SWPL style…c’mon.

  4. jackal
    April 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Ethnicity has nothing to do with tendency towards empty-nesting. As with all things in a profit-based Industrial Revolution, it has to do only with economic evolution. Take the family farm, for example, when it had reigned supreme more than a century ago. Adult children were not just valuable farm hands but eventual heirs of the homestead when parents died. But as the Industrial Revolution gradually obsoleted family farms, children had little choice but to become hirelings — merely Joe Paychecks for the growing corporations and expanding government agencies. IOW, technology has destroyed incentives that had previously kept children on farms. The same scenario has played out with family-owned shoemakers, harness makers, butchers, etc. The Luddens (Luddites) in the Nineteenth Century destroyed laborsaving factory machinery that they thought was destroying their family businesses. Two centuries later now, as technology continues to expand into third-world countries, this trend continues to displace adult children from parents — no matter their ethnicity. Wherever you see the footprint of the World Bank, you see the footprint of technology that has and continues to break apart families. Everything that is socially wrong in the world today has foundation with expanding technology that is motivated by profit. People who are occupied with racist views wouldn’t know this because the one-per-centers have always cleverly orchestrated class warfare, which accounts for why racists have always been preoccupied with only blaming others, be it Whites or Blacks or Latinos, etc. Conflict among the masses is the survival mechanism for the super rich. So long as racists continue to fight amongst themselves, they will always be too occupied to figure out the truth, much less see through the perpetual fog thrown down by the super rich. While expanding technology has always destroyed average families, at the same time it has always served to keep rich families together. Super-rich parents, by rule, always integrate their children into the activities of maintaining the family fortune, no matter the ethnicity. And when you take a good look at Hollywood, it’s no coincidence that there is little racism among celebrities. A Black celebrity will hang with a White celebrity before s/he will ever hang with a Black commoner, and vice versa. Truth is everywhere. You just can’t see it through the lens of templated thinking.

  5. April 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    I have always though about that and the only reasons I could find were:

    1] They want more space in their houses.
    2] They want to spend more money on themselves while insuring that the kids are really far away.

  6. Webe
    April 19, 2012 at 4:14 am

    1] I do recall reading stuff on small households being Anglo-Saxon tradition for more than a millenium, which may offer a minor explanation.
    2] It isn’t 100 years: In the sixties it was common to have grandparents living in the (rebuilt) house, and I know of examples even today. This has dwindled largely due to urbanization and all kinds of restraints (for instance, to rebuilding the place).
    3] Urbanization and mobility has made it far less practical — even married couples are having a harder time choosing where to live together becuase of shifting job opportunities and company transfers.
    4] There remains a very REAL QUESTION. Many parents are glad and relieved when the children leave, fed up with them, bitterly disappointed. That is often because relationships have seriously deteriorated to the point that they can’t stand each other, or to some point just short of that. The parents often feel the children are way too entitled, an endless list of demands with no quid pro quo, and even then, indignant at not being offered the lifestyle of celebrities. The children are subject to profound forces at school and by the media to think of their parents values and demands as bullshit. There is often no shared culture or interests. There is no work to do together, and various household members have followed different possibilities within popular/media culture. Often household members are not really part of the same community, except for macro structures like the group of people in the telephone book, or using the freeway, or subject to IRS interest. Grand-children are often a merely theoretical possibility, lowering the stake of the parents tremendously.

    This is actually very significant, since it means the human/social infrastructure is crumbling, and it is most unlikely that the technical/economic superstructure can float on top of nothing.

  7. April 19, 2012 at 7:25 am

    They are dismantling the welfare state in Europe now. Especially the old-age entitlements. Children will become important again.

  8. jackal
    April 19, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Children will never become important again, so long as technology remains at odds with human nature. Ancient history reveals a time when technology was far more advanced than now. Astronomy, space travel, genetic engineering — all were once on the forefront of human civilization, such as with ETs described on clay tablets in Sumer. But as technology exploded, economies and societies eventually imploded. The human race was rebooted, and history was rewritten, beginning with the Garden of Eden. Sure, the human race will eventually achieve the same technology apogee of ancient time, but it will only serve to implode and reboot the human race once again. It’s nature exerting supremacy, destroying the forces responsible for human suffering that now swamps the entire globe. You either subscribe to a culture that works in harmony with human nature, or nature will exterminate you.

  9. April 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    You’ve had some good insights in your previous post, jackal, but I figure uber-ancients would leave behind quite a few more traces of their existence. I mean, if we can find dinosaur fossils that are hundreds of millions of years old, and the makeshift campsites of hominids from a few hundred thousand years ago, we ought to have found some 50,000 year old city ruins by now.

    Handwringing about the sanctity of the natural order is a false dilemma: our cities are no more unnatural than are termite mounds. If anything, our present order is excruciatingly natural in a nightmarish law of the jungle, Hobbesian sense.

    • jackal
      April 20, 2012 at 8:20 am

      Would your natural urban order be the one that is alienating children and adults, a society where the number of police, prison guards, probation officers, Homeland Security, and mental-health professionals, now far outnumber those who actually produce, much less normal individuals? In my tiny county, alone, no less than 15 law-enforcement agencies are active. Add in support industries, such pharmaceuticals and hospitals, and it is no wonder the economy has been swamped by overhead. It seems a more natural order might be that of Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites, each of which order has no police, much less other professionals just mentioned. Even your termite mounds would collapse if each colony was swamped by police, etc, to the degree society is. As for archaeological evidence, The Great Pyramid of Giza is a structure so sophisticated, only theories so far explain its origin, its curvature on each side of the pyramid, for example, exactly mirroring the curvature of the earth. Just because more evidence hasn’t been discovered yet, does not mean that more does not exist. I mean, if Atlantis hasn’t been located, then perhaps thousands of other sites, far more ancient, remain hidden under seas. DNA, itself, may be the final legacy, but then templated thinking thwarts creativity needed to go outside of the box. Heck, anyone with intact intuition, even children, can see that grousing in favor of today’s urban order is THE false dilemma. Human culture has not always been urban-based, the actual cause of the switch from clan-habitation towards urban living, has long been forgotten.

      • April 20, 2012 at 9:22 am

        It is not ‘my’ natural order in the sense that I see it as good or beautiful or ‘right’ as a social Darwinian might. But I do not make the mistake of seeing our society as somehow unnatural. It’s primal and brutal, just as one would typically expect from nature.
        At the present time, the city is an atypical environment for most humans, but living things adapt quickly to changes in their environment or they perish. This is precisely the way of nature! Might not humans in a few generations feel more instinctive attraction to urban white noise than to bubbling streams and breezy forests?
        Look at how quickly other animals such as dogs, cats, pigeons, rats, raccoons adapt to the city. They certainly aren’t held back by sentimentality about the countryside if the city is where food and mates are.

        Mass human societies have always been brutal and inefficient compared to small villages or tribes where everyone knows each other, but they outcompete other models of organization through brute force and superior numbers.
        Thankfully, the internet is helping to make smaller, more efficient structures viable again.

        I’ve heard half convincing theories before about the Sphinx being far older than we think and plenty of speculations about Atlantis. Indeed, I make no presumption that we know everything there is to know about the ancient world. It’s entirely possible there’s lost civilizations. The ruins of the Assyrian civilization for instance had been totally lost to the world until the 19th century.(Their neighbors hated them that much.)

        But if there was a civilization that was building spaceships and skyscrapers populated by billions of people across all the continents we’d know something about them by now.

        Many of the useless jobs you’re talking about go beyond the typical wasteful overhead in a mass society. They are the result of an outdated system of money that’s supposed to be a means of distributing scarce resources and labor.
        Our civilization has actually become so efficient at production that not everyone’s labor is needed. But the old pretense of working for scarce resources remains. Jobs that produce nothing or which actively cause harm to society must proliferate.
        Actually, professionals who cause harm are true ‘job creators.’ Someone can make a living cleaning up the messes they leave behind.

      • J.M.
        May 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm

        @Giovanni Dannato, you have forgotten that until the 90s we thought underwater volcanoes were just a few thousand but new research has proven there are at least 3 million volcanoes UNDERSEA http://iceagenow.com/3477403_Underwater_Volcanoes_EXACTLY.htm http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/doomsday-fire-millions-of-volcanoes-are-stirring-beneath-the-worlds-oceans/, http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12218-thousand-of-new-volcanoes-revealed-beneath-the-waves.html, new discoveries everyday just show how incomplete our knowledge is everyday, so I would rule out the possibility of an extreme complex and more advanced civilization before. We don`t even know for sure what`s underneath the three or so km of ice that cover what is know as Antarctica. Maybe the Flood was a tale of the destruction of such übercivilization. If the continent where millions and possibly billions of people went underwater, the undersea volcanoes just did the rest of the job and destroyed most of the ruins already.

      • J.M.
        May 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm

        Oops I meant “I wouldn`t rule out….

  10. April 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    you didn’t throw divorce into the equation…

    men and women hate each other, then use the kids as pawns, then the kids hate both of them and themselves….

  11. jackal
    April 21, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Reply to Giovanni Dannato:
    Tribes had lived exclusively off of nature, while modern society now lives exclusively off of technology, which cannot function without a class of workers to maintain and police the artificial environment known as a modern exchange economy. In contrast to this human technological environment, nature doesn’t require a species to enslave and exploit a worker class to power its environment (nature). Instead, nature is powered solely by the sun, totally transparent to all life forms in the wild. Even though humans are the only species that have evolved away from nature (not counting domesticated animals and pets), most of us can’t comprehend the fact that the only thing that separates us from wild animals, is our artificial environment, much less the original trigger that no one sees, even though it’s always in plain view. IOW, our instincts that once made it possible to survive in nature, as wild animals do without higher education, much less grammar school, are now as obsolete as buggy whips on SUVs. Sure, humans adapt to urban life, the same as animals adapt to coming-and-going ice ages. But adaptation shouldn’t validate enslaving fellow humans, each of us endowed with not just the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but, also, a right to pursue our lives as nature intended, in nature, free of police and other overhead professions enforcing exploitation, to be simply left alone. Wild animals have an instinct to fan out in the environment, as a gas expands to occupy its container, ostensibly to satisfy the urge to be left alone, but in reality it is simply nature’s design to maximize resources in the environment. Technology, on the other hand, has highjacked the human urge to fan out and be left alone. Unless you’re a celebrity earning millions annually, you’ll never own a secluded 50,000-acre ranch in Montana. We may all want such a hideaway, but we can’t, most of us accepting the urban sentences of our exploiters, even subscribing to clichéd myths that subvert our desire so we can, unwittingly, feel good about living on top of each other. Few of us today have ever lived in nature or the country, much less know anything about the psychology of such a lifestyle. Nonetheless, it’s always the urban dependent ruminating loudest about human culture, as though an experienced expert. I’ve lived remotely in nature for half of my adult life now, the other half as an urban dweller, my childhood as a member of a farm family, so I have firm footing in experience to comment, living as my creator intended, away from all forms of human depravity (compensation for corruption and deprivation), completely self-sufficient without being a hireling, and — this is big — enjoying the perpetual pleasure that comes with simply being left alone.

  12. April 21, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Nature doesn’t care about our happiness. If living in chronic pain or being too weak to walk helped us reproduce, nature would be all for it.
    Nature has no attachment to solar power or any other.
    Rights are pretty much just golden rules that groups of humans try to agree on. Nature doesn’t care about rights.

    I’ve pointed out earlier: there are different rules governing the life of a termite inside its ‘artificial’ mound than in the outside world. But does this cause us to suppose termite society is unnatural?

    If it serves the interests of animals to fan out, they do. But if there’s salmon spawning up a river, the local bears don’t hesitate to cluster in much tighter than they ordinarily would along the river banks.
    There’s certainly tension amongst these bears that are accustomed to having many square miles of territory but they deal with it if it helps them survive and reproduce. Those bears who can’t deal with it are at a competitive disadvantage and get weeded out. If there was a river where salmon were always spawning, you can be assured a bear city would arise in no time. The bears would probably be miserable most of the time catching diseases from their accumulated excrement but they would have more offspring than bears in the woods.
    At first their ancestral instincts would be obsolete but with the passing of generations, bears would come to love living in close quarters by the river and develop stronger immune systems.
    The tension between human nature and the city is just attrition as usual amongst species whenever there is a shift in optimal survival strategies. A human who can’t bear the city is just one of those Victorian era moths born with light coloration or a Galapagos finch that can barely manage to eat the locally available food while its bigger beaked siblings thrive.
    The natural order is working exactly as it’s supposed to!

    You seem to have this notion that I’m trying to validate modern societies or wage slavery. I’m not. Or that I absolutely love cities. I don’t.

    If I observe a pattern, it does not follow that I must believe it’s a nice or pretty pattern.

    My views on this very succinctly: we first have to discard sentimental idealism and understand nature’s total apathy. Then we can understand that only direct, deliberate intervention can ever result in improved quality of life for most people.
    Our problem is precisely that we’ve left mass societies to a state of nature. We develop improved technologies but do very little to develop improvements in social structures.

    • jackal
      April 22, 2012 at 6:11 am

      I wish I had more time to debate. Nonetheless, don’t forget the method of scientific proof: if you’re going to compare termite mounds and suburban housing, then you must do so by assuming the termites borrow money to mortgage their mounds, much less other myriad factors. Since there is little evidence termites use debt, then whatever comparisons you make have no scientific basis. However, you could make a better case comparing ancient, cave habitation of humans with termites in mounds, provided cave dwellers did not pay rent or make monthly payments. If we all had capacity to completely dispatch clichéd thinking, we’d very quickly find ourselves agreeing more times than not. For example, if one considers technology to include financial instruments, many existing conclusions would collapse, across many disciplines, including your notion that nature doesn’t care about happiness. The same beneceptors and nociceptors that exist in man also exist in all life forms, the former (pleasure based) guiding organisms to acquisition of food and procreation, the latter (pain based) guiding organisms away from harm. Everything about organism design in nature is about pleasure and avoiding pain. But you can’t know this by subscribing only to organized thought, much less understand the true origin of, for example, religion or even the real, cosmic purpose of life, in the first place.

      • April 22, 2012 at 8:42 am


        After you and Oxe spoke I better understand why we’re having difficulties.
        We’re operating from different basic assumptions.

        Science, my experiences, whatever have given me every reason to believe that we are bipedal monkeys exactly as we appear to be and no reason at all to believe that we are anything else.

        Have you not understood my point that rapid transitions in survival strategy make life for a species miserable precisely because the previous pain and pleasure system is obsolete?
        Do you not understand that pleasure properly used is like a carrot just out of reach at the end of a stick?

        From the arguments I’ve seen here the divide that causes this misunderstanding is:

        Jackal: The survival protocols of creatures are fine tuned immutable systems that are sacrosanct. Or at least they should be left unsullied.

        Me: Survival protocols get changed all the time as the environment changes. Individuals and species that survive these changes are ‘fit.’ There is nothing special about any one set of protocols.

        I don’t know why you’re going on about modern humans and termites not being perfectly equivalent.
        I don’t know if you understood the point of my analogy.

        At this point we’ve pretty much blown the original topic of this thread to hell. And we won’t be able to accomplish much if we can’t agree on basic assumptions.

        Perhaps we’ll meet again. My own blog is always there if you want to argue.

  13. Oxe
    April 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    jackal writes:

    “Even though humans are the only species that have evolved away from nature (not counting domesticated animals and pets), most of us can’t comprehend the fact that the only thing that separates us from wild animals, is our artificial environment, much less the original trigger that no one sees, even though it’s always in plain view.”

    If by this you mean to suggest that humans are just another animal genus, know that this is as false as the modern technological chimera of humans as self-interested economic atoms, also an animalistic premise.

    Humans are originally super-natural, there is something in us that actively transcends the earth as natural environment. We dominate because this super-natural connection in us manifests as the unique trait of self-relfective awareness, capable of dominating instinct, feeling, and other lower mental functions that animals possess but do not control. We are fundamentally differentiated in a prestigious manner.

    Our environment is never ‘artificial’ simply because it is not strictly organic in nature – otherwise even a moderately complicated village of huts would be so. It is artificial when its design and raison d’être is motivated by something less than the expression of our highest nature, to the exclusion of all else; it is artificial when it is not imbued with our spiritual intelligence, which is supposed to work symbiotically with nature, integrating her into the higher order that our presence on earth manifests. Old cultures treated everything as a sacred rite – even builders, amongst others, were not mere ‘blue-collar workers’ but an articulated caste (freemasons in the ancient Occident).

    In our decadence, human self-awareness has become clouded in unprecedented ways, hence the monstrous development of modern society, destined to consume so much of value to humans by its ignorant deviance from any supernatural goal. But a primitive, nature-centered hunter-gatherer type of existence, uninformed by any superior culture or man, is not the highest alternative, even if it is more attractive and exciting than today’s bland cities. It is merely what can become of dead civilizations when their superstructure collapses, as the survivalists will readily acknowledge by their anxious preparations; and you should take this as clear evidence that ‘primitives’ are those that managed to survive the collapse of old civilizations. They are not the spontaneous first units of pre-civilized social organization, as evolutionists like to pretend.

    • jackal
      April 22, 2012 at 6:15 am

      Oxe writes:
      “If by this you mean to suggest that humans are just another animal genus, know that this is as false as the modern technological chimera of humans as self-interested economic atoms, also an animalistic premise.”

      No, I’m not suggesting your assumption in any way. Sometimes, the obvious is so obvious, it’s no longer obvious. Read Jonah Lehrer’s “Imagine!”

  14. Willis Davidge
    April 29, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Geez, how do you expect kids to take care of you if they don’t know how to take care of themselves? Maturity and resourcefulness comes from independence. Teaching kids responsibility is the part of ALL mature societies that want the children to succeed. I am a little surprised this is even a question. I happily left home at 19 and never went back. i wanted my freedom and would not have it by sticking around the home. I have 3 boys and let the older ones stay as long as the wanted, but had to pay a token rent payment but it included all utilities and free food. As is said, you reap what you sow…

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